I’m mulling over the possibility of applying for jobs in Alaska and, consequently, fulfilling a life-long dream of going dog sledding. Alaska has a lot of things I’m looking for: gorgeous scenery, a passion for the environment and nature, a low cost of living, isolation, compelling hobbies, and bears. It also has a few things I’m not looking for like endless winter and limited diversity but I can’t help but feel like a job there could be perfect. If nothing else, for the opportunity to dog sled.
As I thought it through, I was reminded of a piece I wrote last semester that I thought I’d share. It was written in style of this really cool website that’s also worth checking out.
A List of Class Options for your Degree Pursuing Professional Dog S
DOGS 001: Intro to All Things Dog
Learning how to best ask and answer the question of “Who’s a good boy?”
DOGS 060: Dog Breeds
Do you know the difference between a Golden Retriever and a Shi Tzu? You fucking should but just in case, take this class. Not everything is some sort of Labrador. If the dog has spots, is it automatically a Dalmatian? If it’s smaller than a bread box, can we just call it a cat?
Pre-Req for DOGS 100
DOGS 099: Dog Facts
We all know that dog people are more likable, more intelligent, and generally just better people than cat people. This class is here to prove it by learning every single cool thing about dogs to ever exist. Did you know what dachshunds were originally bred for? Fighting badgers. Yeah, dogs are cool.
DOGS 100: Identifying Dogs
What happens when you have a dog who hasn’t been grotesquely inbred for centuries so that wealthy white people can have their gold-star “Purebred” bragging rights stamp? How do we identify them without the white people listing its exact genealogy and exuberant price tag?
Lab Component: Randomizing breeds on the pets expansion pack of The Sims and trying to guess what the dog is a mix of.
DOGS 120: Picking Your Team
Now that you’ve taken your other classes, we hope you feel prepared to pick a team of sled dogs. Sure, Huskies, Malamutes and other traditional breeds should be considered but have you toyed with the possibility of using like 80 Corgis?
COM 001: Dog Communication
Learning how to communicate with your dogs.
COM 002: Dog’s Communication
Arrf woof woof yap woof yip? Woof yip bark growl growl sneeze.
COM 003: Dogs’ Communication
Not to be confused with COM 001 or 002, this class focuses on identifying the communication between your dogs. Was that butt sniff friendly? Aggressive? Sexual? Why does Fido keep giving Fluffy the side eye? Who is the alpha? Who is the beta? Who is the delta omega gamma?
SLED 001: Your Sled and You
How to create a weirdly deep bond with the inanimate object
SLED 120: Building Your Sled
Go ahead, pick your own materials on a budget. Duct tape is a must. Real things like solid wood, sturdy metal, and bolts to hold your sled together also accepted.
SLED 121: Inevitably Repairing Your Sled
SLED 122: How to Repurpose Your Sled into Firewood when You Get Lost in the Wilderness
What is safe to burn and what will poison you from the chemicals?
SURV 001: Frost Bite and Which Extremities You May Want to Say Goodbye to Now
Are you really a dog-sledder if you have all ten of your toes?
SURV 002: Going for Not Dead
How to use lifesaving tools like flint, rope, flares, different bandages, and condoms, for those of you who also had subpar sex education in public high school.
Lab component: Watching Survivor and contemplating how much harder it would be in the snow.
SURV 022: The Cold Does Bother Me Anyway
The icecaps may be melting but it sure won’t feel like it when that -70 degree wind chill hits you.
Lab component: Taking turns spending the class period in a walk-in freezer
SURV 111: Foraging for Food
How to find viable food sources in the winter tundra because I swear to god, I’d rather see the dogs tear you limb from limb than for you to think, even for a second, about harming one of them for your own survival.
In addition to your core classes, please pick a concentration in one of the following areas:
Track 1: Language arts, including focuses on linguistics, literature, rhetoric, and film.
LANG 001: The History of ‘Mush’
Evaluating the linguistics of the language of the dog-sledder. Why mush? Were other ridiculous words considered? Or did the first sled dogs suddenly respond to the line “And a bowl full of mush” from Goodnight Moon?
LANG 002: How to Convince People Dog S
So that when your Aunt Carol asks what you’ve been learning with that really judgmental tone in her voice, you can tell her not only what you learned in your other classes but express it admirably and make it sound like you’re pursuing a viable career path.
LANG 101: The Dog Dies
Getting you used to the inevitable while also full-on torturing you and your already fragile emotions.
Reading list includes: Josh Grogan’s Marley and Me, Garth Stein’s The Art of Racing in the Rain, Fred Gipson’s Old Yeller, William Armstrong’s Sounder, and, to really nail it to you John Reynolds Gardnier’s Stone Fox, a book about a sled dog who dies.
LANG 103: Balto and Other Popular Sled Dogs. Mostly Balto though.
Learn about the legend of Balto and sled dogs in popular novels including Jack London’s Call of the Wild. Also Balto, again.
Lab component: Watching and rewatching Balto then watching Balto 2 and being disappointed.
Track 2: Fashion and its practical applications to dog sledding.
FASH 001: Picking Your Best Musher’s Uniform
Because this is probably not common knowledge.
FASH 002: How to Not Freeze to Death
Because this should be common knowledge.
FASH 101: How to Not Freeze to Death and Look Damn Cute Doing it
Because we know what’s really important to you.
FASH 105: Knitting
Because we know that A. You’re gonna want layers, B. You’re gonna think your dogs would look freaking adorable in some sweaters, and C. You’re gonna need to bribe your Aunt Carol into thinking you’re still valid and god, that woman wears a lot of hats.
Track 3: Dog excretions and what you should know.
SHIT 001: Is it Supposed to be that Colour?
Learn about all things poop to keep your dogs, and your nose, happy.
SHIT 002: When to Scoop
Navigating the actual laws of when you actually have to pick up your dog’s shit, when you probably don’t have to, and when to just pretend you didn’t notice and hustle away from the scene.
SHIT 100: Eating the Yellow Snow
Don’t. But if you do, what should you do next?
SHIT 104: How the Fuck Do You Keep From Getting Sprayed?
Don’t forget to register for these gen-ed courses that may seem ridiculous to a dog-sledder but we make you take anyway:
BIO 001: Introduction to Biology
Could we relate this to canine biology specifically? Sure. Do we? The mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell.
ART 001: Artistic Basics
Learn how to draw, sculpt, paint, color, and create in this art course, reminiscent of the type you would have taken in fourth grade.
GEO 001: Geology, Geometry, Geography
What’s the difference and what does it matter? We know you won’t pay attention anyway.
REL 001: Introduction to World Religion
Dogs have no religion but study this anyway.
POL 001: The Politics of Everything but Dogs
Dogs are not a functioning part of politics or government but study this anyway. Admittedly, everyone should probably have a decent understanding of something about politics so as to not contribute to the swift destruction of society as a whole so hey, this class is important.